tv NBC Bay Area News Special NBC July 12, 2014 6:30pm-7:01pm PDT
>> there's bacteria still on the plate. >> we put that claim to the test. plus -- >> first up, jerry brown's crazy cream. >> if he becomes california's next governor, kashkari promises to put the brakes on high-speed rail. is that the reality? and president obama back for yet another fund-raiser but he's not the only one. >> in fact, numerous republicans come in and out of the state almost under a cover of darkness. >> which party's more guilty of using the bay area as a personal piggybank? plus did facebook go too far when it played with people's emotions by tinkering with their news feeds? that's the claim from irritated users. we dive into the facts. here's nbc bay area's sam brock. >> good evening and thank you so much for joining us.
for the next 30 minutes, we'll take on a number of high-profile claims, assertions and perceptions and vet them for accuracy. it may be a politician trying to win your vote to a company lobbying for your hard-earned dollars and information. tonight we start right there with your pocketbook. every time you turn on your phone, there are countless new apps to try, app that is want your business. some claim you can make stacks of cash using your smartphone. but how much are we talking about? can you make minimum wage just by using the apps? we decided to test out the claim to see if there's real money to be made in a day's work. cnet says it's uncovered five apps that can earn you cold hard cash. other sites tout iphone and ipad apps make you money, pave the way to riches by doing almost nothing, highlight 101 ways to monetize apps and so on. but how much money can you make in a day on your phone?
we started about 10:30 in the morning. we've downloaded a whole bunch of free apps on our phone that will hopefully make us some money, the first which is called field agent. i'll open it up and i have a few options. one is called audit. these audits are basically mystery shopping with the highest earning payouts about $5. you'll get that sum for surveying places not everybody is comfortable going into, like, say, your local gun shop. we can't show you video from inside but here's the proof that we answered questions and completed our mission. after snapping a picture of the store to submit for approval, we earned our first $5. next stop, a trip to walmart where we darted through aisles and savacavenged the store. identify scratches, dents and mishaps and send back the photographic evidence, another $5 earned. now, we wanted to try a variety of apps, like the task for cash
app, easy shift all the way out to santa cruz for money. along the way, between driving around flatbed trucks and zipping by country stores, a couple of things occurred to us, first, the admissions can be hard to complete when you're in santa cruz, population 6,234 where service is spotty at best. we popped in and out of the local market several times just to double-check the questions. the second thing we noticed, earning just $5 to check campbell's soup racks probably isn't worth the trip. so where's the big money in these apps? for $15, we could update software on each tablet at a berkeley walgreens. but that might take us the rest of the day. the craigslist third-party app, we might haul in hundreds but set aside a couple of days. or agree to model for a photo shoot. but we're not female and not willing to pose nude.
we had to fill out surveys on the car ride back, about 25 cents each, racking up just over $2. and end our journey with a bonanza at whole foods. we're exhausted. we're about to search whole foods for this. we're trying to find as many life factory water bottles as we can. they want to know how many and where they are in the store. we track down the bottles. took more pictures of them than we thought possible and tacked on one more $5 paycheck. a grand total earned, $32.25. not even half of a full day's minimum wage. and with a standard eight-hour workday in california, you'd have to pull in 72 bucks to make minimum wage. clearly, we fell short. it should be noted that companies like cash grab it and uber weren't an option for us since they require background checks that can take days or weeks to complete. we wanted to know how much money
you can make in one day and the answer is, not that much. a company that has one of the most popular apps, facebook. the tech giant created a huge controversy when it revealed the company had intentionally manipulated user nude feeds to study a person's emotional response. is it legal or ethical? the public pushed back saying it's not. we looked into the reality of those claims. when news surfaced of facebook's latest research, a report looking at what the company calls massive scale emotional contagion, the huffington post, you may have been a lab rat in a huge facebook experiment. even the editor of facebook thought it was creepy. but did they do anything wrong legally by filtering your post to test user emotions? >> no responsibility beyond its
contractual agreement when you first signed up to treat your data in a particular way. >> this is an expert in psychology research at the university of texas talking to us by skype. he points to the fact, public companies do this kind of thing all the time, whether it's on the internet or at the supermarket, gauging consumer behavior and emotion, even if you're not aware of it. and in this case, you signed off. go through facebook's user agreement, all seven pages of initial fine print, then search the data use policy section at the bottom, which takes you to six subsections, one of which is titled, information we receive and how we use it. you look in the fine print of that section, you'll find this nugget about how your info is used, quote, for internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement. so this is legal? yes, as long as facebook keeps their findings internal. but since they decided to publish their work, facebook needs to get your informed
consent as defined by the american psychological association which would warn you of potential risks, discomfort or adverse effects. or don't they have to do that? >> it's still considered research. but there's no requirement that i get consent. the data is collected for other purposes. it wouldn't make sense to say, we already have this data. you don't have to go through all that. >> in essence, facebook has found a kind of loophole because they've already collected the data used for the report before they thought about printing it for public consumption. they don't need your explicit permission. despite the fact that facebook study was legal and technically did meet research standards, the public outcry has not stopped. facebook continues to stand behind what it did. and in a rare move, the academic journal that published facebook's study issued a statement saying, quote, adherence to the common rule of
informed consent is our policy. but as a private company facebook was under no obligation to conform to the provisions. still it is nevertheless a matter of concern that the collection of the data by facebook may have involved practices that were not fully consistent with the principles of obtaining informed consent. the reality is that whether you agree with facebook in what they did or not, you signed off on it when you signed up to use the social network. we are just getting started. coming up on this edition of "reality check," if you have a favorite pair of jeans, you might be reluctant to stick them in the wash. will freezing them overnight kill all the bacteria? we'll find out firsthand. and corporate shuttle buses, one company claims each of its buses take 120 cars off the road. really? we'll check the reality behind the numbers coming up next.
welcome back. we all know that bay area traffic can be a nightmare during rush hour. but one local tech company claims it's actually reducing pollution and congestion by taking a certain number of cars off of the road. tech buses seem to be everywhere. if you look at the screen, they are everywhere. there's one right there, right there and there's even one down there. that's three just on one screen graph. but how many cars do these buses actually take off of the road? one company's claim led us to find out. at midday, bay area bio tetech behemoth sports no passengers now but rest assured when traffic cranks up in the city's public transit system starts steaming, these corporate shuttles provide a valuable
service. but how valuable? their ad complain claims, quote, this bus removes 120 cars from your commute every day. where do they get that number? a spokesperson gave us their formula. 100,000 monthly riders divided by roughly 21 working days in a month, divided by 39 corporate shuttles owned by the company gives you around 120 cars saved. recent research suggests this logic isn't bulletproof? >> we found that half of people said they would drive alone if not for the shuttles. >> this is david and his co-author danielle. they study the impact of corporate shuttles as one of the most comprehensive and often cited to date. they asked 130 shuttlers who they'd do without the service.
18% said they'd take cal train. these are folks who wouldn't necessarily be putting cars back on the road. a sample size? >> the entire population of shuttle riders is limited population, 130 is a substantial sample. >> if you're looking for a larger one, san francisco's municipal transportation agency also asks shuttle-goers, nearly 400 of them, what they would do if the service was cut? 49% said they'd drive alone. if you assume that half of all shuttlers would bring cars back onto the road as the research suggests, that's about 60 of the 120 cars. carpoolers and relocaters might add another 10% putting the total really around 75, not the stated 120. it's still a good sum, no question about that, but not the
full amount being advertised on the back of these buses. other companies are also using the shuttle program. apple, google, facebook, yahoo! ebay, netflix, electronic arts and linkedin just to name a few. some 7,000 people use these buses. according to that berkeley report, that would mean about 4,000 cars off of the road definitely an environmental benefit. much more still to come on "reality check." the man who wants to be california's next governor says if you elect him, he'll make high-speed rail go away. is that even possible? and the president is coming back to the bay again to fund-raise again. but are republicans using the bay area as a personal atm as well? we'll have answers for you coming up next.
but now he's going back to old-school fund-raising methods. sweeping through the bay area twice in recent months to raise cash. democrats have been accused of using our new wealth to bank-roll their campaigns. is that true? we go inside the numbers. for merely the 17th time since the start of his presidency, president obama touched down in the bay area to fund-raise in may. leading to claims he and his fellow democrats are using the bay area as a sort of personal atm. withdrawing money to fund tight races elsewhere in the country. but did you know with less fanfa fanfare, republican mitt romney topped by, so has paul ryan, rand paul and other members of the gop. are both parties guilty of banking on the bay area? >> we hear when the president comes because the streets are blocked off, the press is informed, all that stuff. but in fact, numerous republicans come in and out of the state almost under a cover
of darkness. why? because this is where the cash register is. >> so what are the fund-raising numbers exactly? we decided to jump right in and look at what democrats and republicans have raised from 2008 to basically present day. first we checked out the nine bay area counties to see what happened there. for those nine counties, democrats have raised $244 million since 2008. for republicans, it's about $84 million or a ratio of 3 to 1. that sounds like a lot. but $84 million is a lot of money. and we widened the scope and saw what happened in california over that time frame. for the entire state of california, democrats have raised $618 million since 2008. republicans, about $402 million. a ratio of 3 to 2. >> there's so much money flowing, especially in this part of the world because of high tech and social media. >> while president obama has
been more than happy to tap into the financial spigot, so have politicians of all stripes. funneling california's dollars to other states. the republican party is doing everything it can to make up ground in online fund-raising with major elections ahead in the next two years. you can expect republican candidates to do the same with fund-raising here in the bay area. the reality is, there's a lot of money here. and no party is immune to it. on now to high-speed rail which got a boost from the federal government recently when it approved another leg of that project. still it faces sagging support here at home. 70% of those polled by the "l.a. times" said they'd like to see the issue go back to the balance. one candidate says he has an easier solution, elect him governor and he'll scrap the whole thing. can he do that? this fall, somebody will be chosen to run california. and republican hopeful neel
kashkari claims in his first tv ad if it's him, he'll start chopping up spending right away. >> first up, jerry brown's crazy train. >> but can a governor cancel high-speed rail on his own? after all, the legislature did pass a law funding it back in 2012. we asked kashkari's press secretary. do you think the ad gives voters the impression that neel is going to take out high-speed rail if he's elected governor? >> he absolutely will if he's elected governor. there are a number of ways that a governor can influence and either promote or block the high-speed rail project. >> influence, sure. but outright block? is there any merit whatsoever in a gubernatorial candidate saying, i can take down high-speed rail on my own? >> yes, there is. but it would be a slow death. >> gary teaches political science at san jose state university and is an expert in state politics. he says like previous heads of state before him, if elected, kashkari could exercise a line
item vote. that means he could strip money for high-speed rail out of the budget and leave everything else untouched or kashkari could refuse to unlock the billions in bond money that voters authorized back in 2008, critical to keeping the project alive. >> the governor through the budget process could decide to not spend money or spend it in ways that aren't favorable to the project. >> and lawmakers who don't want to see high-speed rail go away can't always override the governor's veto. but as gavin' knnewsom demonstrated, a two-thirds majority could seem unluckily. coming up, last but certainly not least, you've heard it for years, don't wash your jeans. experts recommend just putting your pants in the freezer and killing bacteria that way. but will it really work? we test the theory out for you next. at 1-800-dentist, we're about one thing.
the happy hollow petting zoo let me and my producer in for the day, of course wearing the new levi's. what ensued was healthy and bacteria fun. we dumped our shoes into water and then hung out with some lemurs who have a voracious appetite for bananas. after they cleansed their palates and i cleansed my hands, we scooped up some worms or at least the zoo director did. our producer transferred the by-products onto my jeans. the gunked was on my pants and we were on the way. we tangled with some goats as well. watch out for this one. and we are done here. importantly, the next step was washing our hands beforehand-delivering the denim
to some stanford microbiologists. they took swabs of the jeans and stuck the bacteria in a petri dish to grow. the jeans were sealed as instructed, frozen overnight. then swabbed the next day for cultures of bacteria which were also grown for a full day. what did the microbiologists find? >> there's lots of bacteria still on the plate, the same amount we had before we froze them. so freezing your jeans does not kill the bacteria as all. >> the dish on the right is before freezing, the one on the left, after. those bacteria from the frozen sample do look bigger because they were grown for a little bit longer. but adam perez says he found the same density of bacteria before and after freezing the jeans. and that is with a special stanford lab freezer. if it were going to work, this
would be the place it would work? >> exactly. >> it didn't work. >> not at all. >> maybe next time you should consider washing your jeans. as it appears, the claim is one for the birds. we contacted levi's. they said they'd change their position and no longer endorse this cleaning method for dirty denim following further studies. they say they were just trying to conserve water and continue to push consumers to make a positive impact on the environment. and they suggested also that i wash my jeans. if you would like a more in-depth look at these stories and many more, go to our web page, nbcbayarea.com/realitycheck where we tackle issues that affect you. so submit an e-mail with your ideas to us. that will conclude this edition of "reality check." you can watch our segments during the week and our 6:00 p.m. newscast. please join us again for the next "reality check." in the meantime, have a good evening. .
male narrator: tonight, get ready to laugh. - burn the house down. narrator: a special edition of last comic standing. - oh, i know i look like a quarterback, but inside, i am all cheerleader. - whoo! whoo! narrator: we're counting down the top 100 jokes of the season... so far. so let's get right to it. - sometimes people can't tell what ethnicity i am. like, one guy said to me, "why don't you go back to making tacos?" i was like, "i'm indian." the guy was like, "i don't care. your break was over a half an hour ago." - my parents are super into gambling. i was home in atlanta a few weeks ago, and i noticed that there was a slot machine in my old bedroom. i was like, "dad, why did you buy a slot machine?" and then he looks at me like i'm the idiot and goes, "for practice." - i married a comedian. yeah. yeah. people always say,
"wow, it must be so much fun at your house. it must be nonstop laughter all the time." and i'm like, "well, she's still a woman..." [audience groans] "compassionate and understanding," if you'd let me finish. - i can do one pull-up. yeah. that's how many pull-ups i can do--one. that's where i stop-- at one. a lot of people will tell me, like, "tommy, why don't you work harder? "why don't you practice? then maybe you could do more than just one pull-up." but i think one pull-up is the perfect amount of pull-ups to be able to do, 'cause when in real life are you ever gonna have to do more than one pull-up, right? when is that situation ever gonna happen? like, even if you're hanging off a cliff, you just got to get up there one time. "i did it. "i thought i was gonna die, "but then i remembered i could do one pull-up, "so i lived. let's head home." - i snore. i snore loudly.
you can't just fall asleep when you snore now, 'cause i get tired. i was on the plane ride here. the flight attendant came rushing over to me, and she said, "listen, ma'am, you gonna have to wake up, "'cause every time you close your eyes, it sounds like we're having engine failure." - we have a lot of kids, so our romance has really gone down the crapper. so i went home and asked my husband-- i'm like, "do you want to do a fantasy?" and he's like, "yeah, what fantasy do you want to do?" and i'm like, "let's do the schoolgirl fantasy." and he's like, "all right, i'll get my skirt." - i was having breakfast with my 12-year-old-- just her and i, having a little breakfast, father-daughter moment. she looks at me for no reason, she goes, "oh, by the way, i had my first period." she wants advice. what kind of advice could i give her? i was like, "uh..." [huffs] "walk it off." - in eighth grade, my mom signed me up for that big brothers big sisters of america program 'cause i had "no strong male role model" in my life. and you know who that ticked off,